We’re just two games into the 2018 NBA Finals, but odds makers in Las Vegas already have their sights set on next year.
The Westgate SuperBook has released odds on the 2019 NBA title. Unsurprisingly, the Warriors, two wins away from back-to-back titles, open as the early favorites at 5/4. The Rockets are tied for the second-best odds at 7/2.
Here’s where things get interesting.
The Eastern Conference favorite checks in with 7/2 odds as well. That team is none other than the 76ers. Yes, this is the same 76ers team that, at full-strength, lost a playoff series in just five games to the injury-depleted Celtics. The Celtics are getting back two all-stars in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Young stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have another off-season to get better. Yet the Celtics have the fourth-odds at the NBA title at 8/1, behind Philly.
These odds tell a thought-provoking story. With their current roster, Philadelphia should not have odds at 7/2 to win a championship. For context, the current Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers have odds all the way down at 30/1 to win the title next year.
This all means the impending free agency of LeBron James is heavy on the minds of odds makers, and Cleveland doesn’t appear to be one of the favorites.
“When you have LeBron in free agency, you have to be careful,” Westgate SuperBook odds maker John Murray said in an interview with ESPN. “You’ve got Philadelphia, Miami the Lakers and even Houston as potential destinations [outside of Cleveland]. We cut all of those teams’ odds down, and we’ll raise back up the teams he doesn’t sign with.”
Barring a move to the Western Conference, the East’s road to the NBA Finals will have James standing in the way, no matter any odds.
Full article @ Vegas projects 76ers, not Celtics, to win Eastern Conference next season
Source: GreenStreet Blog